52 , 2016-03Kyushu University, School of Letters, Graduate School of Humanities, Faculty of Humanities
The hagiographic texts on a Chinese monk known in Japan as Ganjin (Ch. Jianzhen) produced shortly after his death portrayed him as a charismatic monk with countless virtues. Such texts can be understood as an attempt by Ganjin's successors to confirm his authority in the Ritsu community and spread his merits to future generations. This paper examines the process through which Ganjin was promoted from a vinaya master to an idealized monk who later was regarded as the leading authority of the Ritsu school. First, I provide a historical overview of the transmission of the vinaya in Japan prior to Ganjin's arrival. Second, I discuss the motivations of the Nara court (710–794) to demonstrate why an eminent vinaya master like Ganjin was needed. Third, I explore how the received image of Ganjin evolved after his death.